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Riflescopes First Focal Plane
What is a First Focal Plane Scope? What You Need to Know
When shopping for a new riflescope, there are plenty of terms that you must know.
One term that confuses many beginner-level enthusiasts is first focal plane, and one of the most commonly searched phrases is “first or second focal plane scope.” While they may sound similar, they are very different, and here’s why.
A first focal plane (FFP) scope has a reticle that is placed towards the front of your riflescope’s erector tube assembly and your magnification lenses. Your reticle will appear to be the same size regardless of magnification power because it is placed in front of the magnification lens. This means that your reticle (ex. your crosshair) will enlarge with your target as you increase magnification.
The best first focal plane scopes have several benefits to both competitive shooters and hunters, including:
- Consistent subtension
- Crosshairs easily visible at higher magnifications
- Ideal for long-range shooters
That is not to say, of course, that first focal plane scopes don’t have their downsides:
- As crosshairs are magnified, they can start to obstruct your target
- Reticle can be hard to discern at lower magnification levels
- Can be rather pricey
An excellent example of a first focal plane riflescope is the Match Pro 6-24x50 Riflescope.
Knowing what first focal plane means is crucial. That said, it is also important to know what second focal plane (SFP) means.
Second focal plane refers to the fact that your reticle is located behind your magnification lens. That means that as you increase your magnification power, your reticle remains the same. A great example of a second focal plane scope is the Prime 3-9x40 Illuminated Riflescope.
While second focal plane scopes have an easy to see reticle at all magnifications and are generally considered the cheaper option between first or second focal plane scopes, they post a challenge when trying to determine your ideal shot. This may require you to do some extra calculations or require you to pair it with a quality ballistics turret that allows you to get the best shot possible, especially for longer-range shots.